Writing a poem is like holding a shield up as you go into the world.
It’s been nearly a year now since I was working alongside Prof. Rob Kitchin and the Building City Dashboards team at Maynooth University. Since then, I’ve been learning how to teach undergraduate students across the Art and Visual Communications – working in my new role as Asst. Lecturer in Critical and Contextual Studies at IADT. My research and poetic work have been more-or-less hibernating.
Today, though it’s nearly midnight as I write, is World Poetry Day. Last year, around this time, I was pleased to publish the first chapbook from my Irish Research Council postdoc, Fastidious Inquiry, Weird Compliance; a collection of Sonnets. This year, I will mark the occasion by looking back on the drafts of the BCD Chapbook I was preparing, just before I began my new job, and set a course to complete and publish this work.
The Building City Dashboard’s chapbook will combine a series of Persona Sonnets and ‘infraordinary’ writing developed with the BCD team (and others) during 2019, just before the onset of the coronavirus pandemic (2020-present). My research was beginning to draw attention to the theme of protection in relation to data technologies and perceptions/mythologies surrounding the ‘users’ of such technologies (i.e. smart city dashboards). The theme of protection seems more relevant than ever and I’m looking forward, with the benefit of hindsight, to contextualising the ways data technologies brush up against all-too-human desires and needs for connection and protection.